Equally American and nine other civil rights groups are calling on the U.S. House of Representatives leadership to pass a bipartisan House resolution that condemns the racist Insular Cases and their doctrine of “territorial incorporation.” The House Resources Committee held a hearing on H.Res. 279 last year. The resolution has received broad support, including from the chairs of both the House Resources and House Judiciary committees, who are encouraging its passage. House resolutions do not need to be voted out of committee before being voted on by the full House. Just two weeks of voting remain in the 117th Congress.
“With the Supreme Court recently dodging two opportunities to overrule the Insular Cases, it is more important than ever for the House to make clear that the racist Insular Cases and the colonial framework they established should have no part in the United States today,” said Neil Weare, president and founder of Equally American, which advocates for equality and civil rights for residents of U.S. territories. “Next year marks the 125th anniversary of the United States acquiring formal overseas colonies, so the time to act is now. This is some unfinished business that the House should pass before Members of Congress leave for the holidays.”
H.Res. 279 has 16 co-sponsors, including Northern Mariana Islands Delegate Gregorio Kilili Sablan (D-MP), Virgin Islands Delegate Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), Puerto Rico Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón(R-PR), and Guam Delegate Michael F.Q. San Nicholas (D-GU). Other members of Congress of Puerto Rican descent who are sponsoring the resolution include Nydia Velasquez (D-NY-7), Darren Soto (D-FL-9), Jesus G. “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL-4), and Ritchie Torres (D-NY-15).
The New York State Bar Association—which this year established a Task Force on U.S. Territories—also recently wrote Speaker Nancy Pelosi calling on her to support bringing H.Res. 279 to a vote on the floor.
Aside from Equally American and ACLU, the other groups that support this advocacy are the Ayuda Legal Puerto Rico, the Brennan Center for Justice, Demos, Hispanic Federation, Lambda Legal, LatinoJusticePRLDEF, the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs.
The letter can be found online at : https://www.aclu.org/letter/coalition-letter-house-leadership-hres-279 (PR)